We had the good fortune of connecting with Jackie Shatz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jackie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Choosing to be an artist was probably one of the most risky careers I could have chosen – financially, socially and aesthetically. However I feel that it choose me and that I had an inner compulsion to be an artist – beware of choosing it if you don’t have that compulsion. Although taking risks gives me anxiety I do like a challenge – so there is a constant balancing that takes place. Every time I start a new sculpture I take a risk, and all the decisions I make throughout the process involve risk. I want the sculpture to surprise – something new I couldn’t have foreseen. So risk taking is intrinsic to my process as an artist and has worked well in any successes I have achieved. It has been worth it.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It has not been easy – it requires discipline (which you develop) and ability to face rejection and continue. It has been important to navigate the social part of being an artist and I have gotten better at that. One can’t just withdraw into the studio and expect a career to take care of it’s self. I have had to learn media and hone writing skills, to research opportunities and take the time to apply for them. Before I started teaching I worked at many other jobs: bartender, waitress, switchboard operator – all had their charms, at least in the short term. I have been fortunate to teach freelance as a teaching artist and thus have enough time for my work. I have a supportive partner who respects that need. I have won several grants which gave me financial support and encouragement. Also grateful to the artist and collectors who have purchased my work; and the critics who have written about it; (Cynthia Nadelman, Vivien Raynor, Joan Sheppard)

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them up to Magazino, an Italian Arte Provera museum in Cold Spring, New York, maybe the Dia in Beacon, N.Y. Further afield to galleries in Hudson and LABspace in Hillsdale, N.Y. I live close to New York City – so there are all the galleries there and my favorite museum the Metropolitan Museum. Manitoga, the home of designer Russel Wright is beautiful.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have received support from my husband John Morton, a sound artist, my daughter Celeste Morton, an artist. Many artist friends – among them Leigh Burton, Meg Hitchcock. My teachers Robert Swain and Ron Gorchov. Cynthia Nadelman, an art writer, has encouraged me by recognizing and writing about my work, as well as curating my work. Julie Torres and Ellen Lechter featured my work in a show at LABspace which was great for me. Paul D’Agostino introduced me to a new community of artists and showed my work. And importantly the grants I have been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, the Tree of Life Grant, and the Gottlieb Foundation Grant. Also my many students, both children and adults. Although I originally thought of teaching only as way way to make a living, it has been much more than that; rewarding and stimulating. Encouraging my students to take risks and seeing them plunge in and make wonderful art has been a great experience. I have felt very supported by my community of artists, in person, as well as online.

Website: jacquelineshatz.com

Instagram: Jackie Shatz

Facebook: Jackie Shatz

Image Credits
ARSpiel interview – Etty Yaniv. Image photo Michael Zansky other images – John Morton

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